It looks increasingly unlikely that there will be any further local football this season following yesterday's (Thursday) announcement by the NI Executive that restrictions were extended until March 5 at the earliest.

Fermanagh and Western Chairman Neil Jardine told the Impartial Reporter that at this stage they will seek the views of members of the Management Committee in light of yesterday's decision.

"We will contact the Management Committee and gage their opinions and take it from there," he saoid.

Earlier this week Jardine had said that the Fermanagh and Western would wait until after the NI Executive review their current restrictions before meeting to discuss what, if any, plans for the remainder of the season.
The Fermanagh and Western Management Committee declared the league null and void at the end of November but they had said that they wanted to play a subsidiary competition as well as the two cup competitions - the Mulhern Cup and the Reihill Cup.
“We will meet again before the end of January. We know that the NI Executive are due to review things at the end of this week so there would be no point doing anything to see what comes of that,” said Jardine.
“At the moment we haven’t progressed any plans for a subsidiary competition because, obviously, we are in lockdown until February 6 and at the moment it is more likely to be extended and that would likely bring us to the end of February at least.”
That would mean that there would be no football until March at the earliest and Jardine explains that they will take stock at that stage.
“If that is the case, you are looking at March, April and May to play football and I think it would be a matter of taking stock at that stage and seeing is it really necessary or practical to organise football.
“The conditions will hopefully be more favourable then but we have to ask is it the right thing to do to organise football and asking teams to get together to play.”
He also says that advice from the Public Health Agency (PHA) has changed and players might not want to take the risk of playing and then have to isolate for ten days.
“We have also seen regulations and advice from the PHA has changed greatly from what it was at the start of the season. If you have two cases appear at the same time that is a breakout, that’s what’s happened in a couple of cases in NIFL where there has been two cases identified on the pitch and then everybody involved in that match has to self isolate for ten days.
“At the end of the day, our players are all amateur players with jobs and families so is it worth going out on the Saturday and play football and on the Sunday somebody who played in that match tests positive and that’s you out for ten days?”
The IFA had said that they were intent on playing the Junior Cup this year but Jardine is unsure whether that will go ahead either.
“It remains to be seen if the Junior Cup is going to happen. We have cancelled our leagues and other leagues haven’t even started so is it going to be the only show in town and if so is there interest in it?”
There is the possibility therefore of no further football this season and Jardine says that they may just have to look towards next season and possibly an earlier start date to the season.
“It is about assessing at that stage when football has been stopped for so long whether this season is a goer at all on any level or do you just say that we won’t do anything but what we’ll look at is, particularly Division One, is to start the season early. That would take a rule change as our start date is the third Saturday in August but subject to agreement with clubs start the league on August 7. You could play those two extra Saturdays plus two midweek dates and that immediately takes the four additional games in Division One out. You would have four games played by August 21 and everything else could then kick in,” he said.